statesman news service
Kolkata, 21 Sept: Barring some stray clashes, election in 12 municipalities in the state passed off peacefully today.
In Burdwan the CPI-M withdrew its candidates and boycotted polls alleging terror by Trinamul Congress workers. However, senior officials of the State Election Commission said they did not receive any complaint from Burdwan. In Panihati and Habra, both in North 24-Parganas, they had received complaints and re-polling is likely to be held in 13 wards. Mr Tapas Roy, secretary, State Election Commission, said in booths 72 and 73 in Habra, an EVM machine was damaged while in booth 55, a polling personnel was injured. The overall poll percentage was 81.05.
At around 11 a.m. the CPI-M&’s district secretary, Mr Amol Haldar, and the party&’s state committee member, Mr Madan Ghosh, suddenly declared poll boycott in Burdwan.
The leaders claimed: “The Trinamul Congress has terrorised our voters and the ruling party has rigged almost all the booths in the town.”
The leaders also claimed: “The policemen were acting as puppets of the ruling party and were turning a deaf ear to the screams of the CPI-M leaders and cadres.” Mr Swapan Debnath, state small industry minister and Trinamul Congress’ district president, denied the allegations made by the CPI-M leaders as baseless, adding that the party leaders deliberately did it to avoid “total defeat.” The SP, Burdwan, Mr S M H Meerza said: “We had deployed 1300 policemen for Burdwan and Guskara polls. Though Guskara recorded one untoward case, Burdwan&’s polling passed off peacefully.” In South 24-Parganas and Birbhum a few stray clashes were witnessed.
The CPI-M and Congress leaders alleged that in Dubrajpur in Birbhum, Trinamul Congress workers blocked roads stopping voters from reaching polling stations. They further alleged that voters’ identity cards were snatched away by Trinamul Congress workers.
Senior police officers said they had received some complaints of booth jamming and forces were immediately sent to the polling stations to bring the situation under control.
“The civic polls was totally peaceful. The allegations are totally baseless,” claimed Mr Anubrata Mondal, Trinamul district president.
In Diamond Harbour, the election was peaceful and there was 86 per cent polling in the 16-seat municipality. Only one stray incident took place in ward 13.
Trinamul Congress and PDS workers engaged in a confrontation in booth 29 at Diamond Harbour High Madrasa.
In Panihati in North 24-Parganas there were complaints of booth jamming and intimidation of voters by the Left Front leaders. The polling started peacefully at 7 a.m. but it soon turned violent when in ward 30 the TMC Candidate, Mr Madhav Nandi, allegedly prevented the CPI-M candidates and supporters from entering the camps and polling stations.
Even the TMC supporters allegedly attacked some CPI-M candidates and voters in the presence of police force. Two supporters, Mrs Kalpana Biswas and Mr Basab Chakrabarty, were injured. At around noon booth numbers 138 and 139 were allegedly captured by TMC supporters and hooligans. Mrs Meera Pandey, State Election Commissioner, went to some of the booths after receiving complaints along with the district magistrate Mr Sanjay Bansal. She was mobbed by some local people who complained of intimidation and booth jamming by Trinamul Congress supporters.